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Challenges in Implementing Affiliate Marketing for Banks: Common Hurdles and How to Overcome Them

Caoimhe Ryan

Caoimhe Ryan

Affiliate Relationship Manager
  • Last Updated: March 26, 2024

In This Article

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Many marketers in the financial services industry have at some point or another, reached a crossroads. They want to implement a new approach that works in other sectors, but they have to weigh the potential benefits with the risk of reputational damage or non-compliance with important regulations. 

Often, this means that marketing strategies have to be very carefully crafted, with a thorough understanding of the risks and challenges, and how they can be reduced or eliminated completely. 

Are you a financial brand looking to introduce affiliate marketing into your broader marketing strategy without introducing risk? We can help. Reach out to our team of experts.

This applies to affiliate marketing programs. Affiliate marketing is still a relatively new approach for the financial services industry, and one of the reasons behind the paced adoption is that there are some common hurdles that can get in the way of a successful program. But that shouldn’t stop financial brands from taking this step.

In this article, we’re sharing four of the top challenges banks and other financial institutions tend to face when implementing an affiliate marketing program — as well as best practices for mitigating them. 

1. Compliance with Regulations

Financial brands operate within a rigid set of regulations that dictate how they talk about their financial products and services. These regulations, such as those imposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), outline the dos and don’ts of marketing practices in the industry. Not complying with these rules can not only result in financial fines, they can also compromise your brand’s reputation and negatively impact its ability to build trust and generate deposits. 

These rules don’t just apply to your internal marketing efforts, they also apply to affiliates and any messaging they might publish about your brand. As such, there’s a need to ensure that anything they share abides by the rules and regulations.

How to mitigate this issue

Staying ahead of compliance takes a proactive and comprehensive approach. Before you engage with affiliates, reach out to your legal team and ask for their support in drawing up a set of compliance guidelines for you to share with your partners. Your compliance procedures could also include a check of any content that your affiliates plan to publish. 

Have a process for auditing any content that your affiliates publish. Ideally, this should be automated, using a tool like Fintel Check, which reviews any mention of your brand for compliance.

2. Trust and Reputational Risks

Customers need to be able to trust their financial institution. As such, trust needs to be built in from the very beginning. Affiliates shouldn’t feel like they’re promoting a product they don’t believe in, and customers shouldn’t feel like they’re being lied to or like there’s some sort of conflict of interest between the affiliate and the bank. Plus, you don’t want your affiliates to misrepresent you in any way, as that can pose a reputational risk. 

How to mitigate this issue

Staying ahead of this challenge will mean embedding a spirit of transparency into your program. Being open about your goals, values, and the type of messaging that sits at the heart of your marketing strategy will be key in attracting and retaining the right affiliates. Going a step further, you can also develop a code of conduct for affiliates that you share at the beginning of the relationship. 

Affiliate marketing for financial services

3. Finding Relevant and Trustworthy Affiliates


Another big challenge for financial institutions is finding the right affiliates to represent their brand. Not only do you have to ensure that they are aligned from a values perspective and that their audience matches your target audience, you also have to evaluate whether their fees fit within your budget. 

How to mitigate this issue

Start by creating a set of qualifiers that you want for your affiliates. Consider factors such as industry experience, audience relevance, brand alignment, and reputation. Then, develop a list of evaluation criteria that you can use to evaluate every partnership opportunity. Checking these off will likely involve conducting background checks, reviewing websites and online presence, and assessing track records in affiliate marketing. Once you’ve found reliable partners that have a proven ROI for your customer acquisition efforts, take the time to develop a strong relationship with them so that you can return to them for future campaigns. 

4. Tracking and Attribution

Another reason financial marketers can be apprehensive about affiliate marketing is the perceived lack of tracking and attribution capabilities. How can you accurately track a conversion back to an affiliate? Relatedly, how can you know whether an affiliate’s performance data is accurate and that they’re not inflating the numbers? Implementing robust attribution software can feel like a big effort and investment, and it may not always be a top priority for marketing leaders. 

How to mitigate this issue

Choosing the right affiliate marketing partner can go a long way to solving this challenge. Fintel Performance is an all-in-one partner marketing platform, affiliate network, and agency service. With Fintel Performance, financial brands get access to over 3,500 vetted financial publishers and affiliates. Plus, our specialized platform has robust multi-event tracking and reporting across multiple financial products, making it easy for you to trust attribution data that measures the success of your campaigns. 

In addition, we have a team of dedicated professionals focused on growing and nurturing partnerships with leading and up-and-coming affiliates and influencers in the industry. We do the heavy-lifting to carefully vet, onboard and activate partnerships to save time and effort for our brand partners.

Implementing a Successful Affiliate Marketing Program

Affiliate marketing programs can provide a number of benefits to financial brands. An affiliate marketing program reduces the cost of customer acquisition, diversifies your marketing channels, enhances brand awareness, and extends your reach to relevant and attentive audiences. Financial brands should be able to leverage all these benefits without worrying about potential risk. With the right guardrails in place, the right strategy, and the right partners, adopting a successful affiliate marketing program is more than feasible. 

At Fintel Connect, our team of experts has supported various financial brands in launching a successful and reliable affiliate marketing program. Reach out to us today to see how we can help you do the same.

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